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Atkins, Robert (17 October 1930–17 April 2003), physician and diet specialist, was born Robert Coleman Atkins in Columbus, Ohio, the son of Eugene Atkins, a confectioner who later owned a bar and cigar store, and Norma Tuckerman. The great-grandson of Russian-Jewish immigrants on both sides, Atkins grew up in Dayton, Ohio, to which his family moved in 1941. He shared his mother's social ambitions and taste for fine art. A diligent student, he came in second in a statewide scholarship test in 1947. That year he enrolled as a premedical student at the University of Michigan where, in his sophomore year, he was elected to the honor society Phi Beta Kappa. He graduated in 1951, spent the summer as a waiter and stand-up comic at a resort in the Catskills, and went on to enroll in Cornell University Medical College in New York City, from which he received an M.D. in 1955. Atkins served residencies in cardiology at the University of Rochester's Strong Memorial Hospital and Columbia University's St. Luke's Hospital in New York City, and in 1960 he opened a private office in Manhattan....

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Atwater, Wilbur Olin (03 May 1844–22 September 1907), nutritionist and professor of chemistry, was born in Johnsburg, New York, the son of William Warren Atwater, a methodist clergyman, and Elizabeth Barnes. The family moved from place to place within New England during his childhood. He attended the University of Vermont for two years but graduated in 1865 from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. After three years of teaching school, he moved to Yale’s Sheffield Scientific School as a graduate student in agricultural chemistry under Professor ...

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Hart, Edwin Bret (25 December 1874–12 March 1953), biochemist and nutritionist, was born near Sandusky, Ohio, the son of William Hart and Mary Hess, farmers. Hart developed an interest in the natural sciences at Sandusky High School. In 1892 he entered the University of Michigan and became an assistant to the chemist E. D. Campbell, who had lost his eyesight in a laboratory explosion. Hart’s duties included reading to Campbell and taking him places by tandem bicycle. In 1897 he received a B.S. in chemistry and had his research published as coauthor with Campbell. He then became an assistant chemist at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York, performing routine food analyses for a year before being given the opportunity to work with Lucius Van Slyke on animal nutrition and dairy chemistry. In 1900 he took a two-year leave of absence to study for a Ph.D. with the protein chemist Albrecht Kossel at the University of Marburg in Germany. Kossel moved to Heidelberg in 1901, and Hart went with him. Heidelberg, however, would not accept the academic credits earned at Marburg. Unable to finish the degree requirements before returning to New York, Hart never obtained a Ph.D. From 1902 to 1906 he developed an outstanding reputation as a dairy chemist. In 1903 he married Ann Virginia De Mille, an actress and relative of ...

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Hauser, Gayelord (17 May 1895–26 December 1984), nutritionist and author, was born Helmut Eugene Benjamin Gellert Hauser in Tübingen, Württemburg (now in unified Germany), the son of Christian Hauser, a schoolmaster, and Agate Rothe. He had his name legally changed to Bengamin (or Benjamin) Gayelord Hauser in 1923. In 1911 Hauser, then only sixteen, came to the United States from Germany to join his elder brother, Otto Robert Hauser, the pastor of a church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Unfortunately, very soon thereafter, the young Hauser was stricken with tuberculosis of the hip; after several operations, doctors declared his case hopeless....

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Pritikin, Nathan (29 August 1915–21 February 1985), inventor and nutritionist, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Jacob Pritikin, an outdoor sign salesman, and Esther Leavitt. Nathan’s nurturing parents supported and encouraged their enterprising son. In 1933 he enrolled in the University of Chicago. The ambitious student also owned Flash Foto, a prosperous photography business. In 1935 Pritikin withdrew from college and made a fortune inventing technical gadgets....

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Rose, William Cumming (04 April 1887–25 September 1985), biochemist and nutritionist, was born in Greenville, South Carolina, the son of John McAden Rose, a Presbyterian minister, and Mary Evans Santos. Rose’s family moved to North Carolina in 1881, living first in Morganton, then in Laurenberg. In Laurenberg, when he was twelve, Rose was placed in the Quackenbush School, but after two years his father found his son’s instruction was inadequate and decided to teach him at home. In this isolated environment, Rose’s father thoroughly drilled him in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew. While Rose was receiving this classical education, he began reading ...

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Sherman, Henry Clapp (16 October 1875–07 October 1955), chemist and nutritionist, was born near Ash Grove, Virginia, the son of Franklin Sherman and Caroline Clapp Alvord, farmers. After receiving an education in a rural, ungraded school, Sherman entered Maryland Agricultural College (now the University of Maryland) and earned a bachelor of science degree in 1893. He was an assistant to the state chemist of Maryland until 1895, when he began graduate study in chemistry at Columbia University, becoming in 1897 the youngest person to receive a Columbia Ph.D. From 1897 to 1899 he was an assistant in analytical chemistry at Columbia and also assisted ...

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Williams, Robert Ramapatnam (16 February 1886–02 October 1965), chemist and nutritionist, was born in Nellore, India, the son of Robert Runnels Williams and Alice Evelyn Mills, missionaries. His mother educated him at a Baptist mission in Ramapatnam. After an accident crippled his father, the family returned to the United States in 1896. Williams attended schools in Kansas and California before enrolling in 1905 at Ottawa University in Kansas. Two years later he transferred to the University of Chicago, where he received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry in 1907 and 1908, respectively. He met Augusta Parrish at Ottawa. They married in 1912 and had four children....